Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting back on the saddle

Thursday will mark the second time that I have ridden my bike since November. Granted, I'm only riding about 18 miles, But I'm still pretty excited to be back out there on the roads. Of course, The Wife went ahead and made sure that my life insurance policy was up to date. Suspicious? Maybe...

I will say that I have been testing out my new CycleOps PoweCal and it is working great! If you don't know what it is, it's basically a heart rate monitor that estimates your power output based on your heart rate. I'll be writing up a review based on my personal experience in the weeks to come.

In other news, it sounds like I might have another marathon in my near future (like late April). I will keep you posted!

That's all for today. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Less than 36 weeks

I decided to bust out the old calendar and take a peak at what the rest of this year is looking like for me, training-wise.  Well, as it turns out, this last Monday was 36 weeks until Ironman Arizona.  That means I need to get my little butt in gear and start building some base before my plan kicks in in another 12 weeks.

Over the last few months, I have been focusing strictly on running, so I haven't done any cycling or swimming since October/November.  Yikes!  I'm in the process of going through my training plan and mapping out exactly what I am going to be doing for the rest of the year.  As it stands right now, I don't have any other races that I'll be doing as I build up for IMAZ.  I may or may not add in a race or two (depending upon any sponsor/ambassador requirements...), but at this point, the teams that I am on (Team Vega and the CycleOps Grassroots Athlete program), I don't have a need to add any more races.  

(On a side note, for anyone who watches The Biggest Loser, did you happen to notice the CycleOps trainer in the makeover episode?  It was there!  Of course, the name/logo was taped over with black tape so they didn't have to pay CycleOps...)

As I did with IMCdA, I will try and post my training each week.  What I have also done is I have set up a Google document with each week broken down.  I'm not sure that I'll post that on here, but it should make it easier for me to post my schedule at least.  So for the rest of the better start training!  Thirty-six weeks will go by a lot faster than you think!!!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is this in my future?

I've been reading a few different sport-related books lately, one of which is called "Finding Ultra", by Rich Roll.

He has a pretty interesting life story, which he explains in the book.  He goes through a few ups and downs in his life and eventually landed on the decision that he needed to make a change in his life.  He starts with his diet, switching to a plant-based diet.  Then he decides on doing an Ironman.  Unfortunately, didn't realize that Ironman races sell out a year in advance and he did not want to wait that long.  He ended up stumbling across Ultraman.  I don't want to ruin the story, in case you decided to read it, but he ends up surprising himself and many others.

I happened to learn about the Ultraman a year or so ago, when I actually came across some stories of Rich Roll online.  Basically, it's a 320 mile stage race, done over 3 days.  It kicks off with a 6.2 mile swim and a 90 mile bike ride on day one.  Day two brings a 171.4 mile bike ride.  And day three closes the race with a double marathon, 52.4 miles.  The times from each day are all added up, and the athlete with the least amount of time is declared the winner, however anyone who completes the race is still a winner in my eyes.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I was looking around on the ever-popular  I navigated my way over to the forums and there was one in particular that caught my eye.  It read "New Ultraman announced".  I clicked on it, and found a link that sent me here:

So, I looked around a bit and pondered my future.  I took a look at what the price-tag on something like this would be, and it turns out, it's a mere $1800!  Add on to that the fact that you have to travel out to Florida and provide your own support crew/supplies, and this race starts to get a little pricey.  Needless to say, I ran it by The Wife and I will not be registered for the inaugural running on Ultraman Florida.

But, with such a great location, my family could go to Disney World while I torture myself!  It sounds like a win-win for the whole family!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Applications open for Ironman Foundation Team

If you competed in an Ironman, then surely you've heard of the Ironman Foundation.  Through the years, this program has been called a few different things, and has been presented in a few different ways.  This year, the Ironman is offering another unique opportunity to be a part of a team, supported by the Ironman Foundation.  This team is called the Ironman Foundation-Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team.

I can't say that I read every detail word for word, but I can tell you the quick and easy version.  From what I gather, there will be 40 athletes on the team.  Each athlete will receive a cycling kit and a tri kit, along with a couple other clothing items.  As part of the team, you will need to race in BOTH and Ironman and Ironman 70.3 event, as well as raise $1000 to support the Ironman Foundation cause.  Also, you will be involved in a few charity events to represent the brand.  Another perk will be that you will receive a low bib number at your races, and a reserved seat in the VIP area during the athlete dinner.

It actually sounds like it would be a really fun team to be on, and would make your Ironman experience even that much better!  Good luck to everyone that applies!  Oh, and you better hurry, because the application period closes on March 12th!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CycleOps Grassroots!

Back in early February, I received an amazing email from CycleOps.  The purpose of this email was to inform me that my application to be part of the CycleOps Grassroots Athlete program has been accepted, and that I had been chosen to be on the team!  I'm not going to lie...I'm pretty excited about this one!

CycleOps is pretty much a household name when it comes to cycling and triathlons.  They are known for their trainers and power meters, but also have a few other amazing products such as real-time, online training videos that sync with your power meter.  Very cool stuff.  I have been using my Fluid 2 indoor trainer for a few years now and have definitely gotten my money's worth from it.  Recently, I purchased a new device from their lineup, called the PowerCal.  What this little guys does is estimates your power output based on your heart rate.  I haven't used a power meter before, but have found the PowerCal to be a great introduction to training with power.

I'm very excited to have this opportunity, and thankful to the CycleOps group for picking me.  Here's to a wonderful 2013 season!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Race Recap - The Phoenix Marathon

This year, the Phoenix Marathon was originally going to be my goal race of my early season.  My plan was to train like crazy, attempt to qualify for Boston with a finish time of under 3:05:00, and then take a short break before getting into my IMAZ training.  Well, then The Captain talked me into signing up for The Arizona Marathon, which would take place 13 days before the Phoenix Marathon.  I though, "Eh, I can always use the Arizona Marathon as a training run and drop out if need be."  Well, that didn't happen.

In case you didn't see the post, I ended up finishing the Arizona Marathon in 3:05:23.  Unfortunately, I was 23 seconds shy of qualifying for Boston.  But no worries, I had just shy of two weeks to fully recover enough to try again!

We (my mother-in-law and I) arrived to the finish line at 4:45 am, and waiting in line about 5 minutes before boarding the school bus that would be taking us to the starting line.  After what seemed like a very, very long drive, we arrived at the starting line.  We both had the same idea of heading straight to the bathroom lines.  Once that was taken care of, there were a number of those tall patio heaters that were set up to keep the runners warm.  It was only about 50*F, but the extra little bit of warmth was nice for a few minutes.  At about 5:45, I decided to go get in line for the bathrooms one last time.  I finally got out of that line at about 6:15, which cut into my warm-up a little bit.  A short jog later and I was at the starting line, stretching and waiting to start.

Just before the gun went off, a group of runners slid right in front of me, and I overheard one of them saying that he was shooting for a 3:00:00 pace, which was what I had in mind.  I decided I would stalk them for the race and let them do the pacing.  This was a great idea in theory, until I realized that they were moving much faster than their planned pace.  Here's a look at the first 5 miles, just to give you a taste of their 3:00:00 pace:

Mile 1: 6:31
Mile 2: 6:28
Mile 3: 6:35
Mile 4: 6:30
Mile 5: 6:52

Granted, the first few miles were downhill, but still.  I probably should have been smarter than to keep this pace with them.  Unfortunately, I was not.  In fact, I stuck with them and their pace for 13 miles.  My goal average was 6:52/mile, and it wasn't until mile 16 that I slowed to that pace (not including miles 5 and 6, which were actually a pretty rough uphill climb).  At mile 16, I began to slow to right around 7-7:15/mile, which I felt was alright since I was so far ahead of my goal pace.  But, when I got to mile 21, I started to fall apart.  Again (just like at the Arizona Marathon), I decided to walk for 30 seconds at the aid station.  Then I picked it up again and made it to mile 22 and walked again for 30 seconds, only this time, when I tried to get back up to speed, my left knee did not want to cooperate.  At that point, I decided to walk a bit more.  I walked for maybe a minute or two when the 3:05 pacer went blowing by me.  I tried for about 10 steps to go with him, but it wasn't going to happen.  And once that happened, I had given up and was just going to get through the last few miles however I could.

I was able to get myself back up to a very slow jog and shuffle from aid station to aid station until I finally rounded the last corner and made my way to the last straight away.  I spotted The Wife and my kids and took a little detour over to go thank them for supporting me before I limped my way over the finish line.  I ended up with a 3:14:48, which isn't a bad time, but still upsetting for me.  Going into this race, I was actually feeling really good.  However, since I just did a 3:05:23 effort 13 days prior, I wasn't sure if I would be able to do the same effort again.

Aside from having just raced, I think I also messed up my pacing early on by coming out way too fast, and I think I also messed up my nutrition plan.  In the Arizona Marathon, I ingested way fewer calories than I had planned, so for the Phoenix Marathon, I tried to ingest more calories, less often.  It seems that maybe that plan did not work out too well.

And, to top everything off, this was only the second race in which I didn't set a new PR.  And the last time that happened?  It was January of 2009.  So it's been a while since that has happened.

Aside from me being a little disappointed with my finish time, my mother-in-law did amazing!  It was her first marathon EVER, and she killed it!  And about 2 hours after I finished, I got to do a 1k fun run with my kids!  Luckily, my daughter isn't too fast yet, so I was able to shuffle along and keep up with her while pushing my son in the stroller.  And the finish line area was amazing!  There was a ton of free entertainment and food for both the runners and spectators!  My daughter had so much fun playing in the bounce houses and whatnot that I am considering this race again, because I know that she won't go crazy waiting for her dad to finish running!

So, unfortunately, no Boston Qualifying for me this year.  It turns out that I was 23 seconds short this year, so next year I'll just have to train a little bit harder and race a lot-a-bit smarter!  Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I'm going to unveil another new team that I am apart of!